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January 26, 2005

Comments

Gosh, I wish there was some way to distinguish between Social Security as an anti-poverty program and SS as a pseudo pension plan. Too bad it is impossible, it would seem like such a useful distinction.

Too bad it is impossible, it would seem like such a useful distinction.

The word 'fungible" keeps running through my head...

SH:

since you haven't pointed anyone to the Cato and Heritage SS calculators, you appear to recognize that they're wrong and there's really nothing "pseudo" about the pension.

"pseudo" is such a great weasel word. it's much like "quasi" which appears in my line of work a lot. basically, those two words don't mean anything except in limited circumstances (which, somehow, you can never figure out in advance) when they mean "NOT".

so, SH, is this one of the circumstances when "psuedo" means "not"?

Francis

Thanks for the heads up hilzoy. Fafnir's handy FAQ has answered all of my questions. When I

... go to bed tonight dreaming of private investment accounts a maaaaagical train will pull up to [my] window, and a maaaaagical conductor will let [me] on board…And the maaaaagical train will take [me] to the North Pole to see Social Security Santa with [my] very own eyes so [I] can believe.
The scales have fallen from my eyes. How could I have doubted.

Drat!

Well, [I] won’t get it, ‘cause [I] didn’t believe on [my] own!
Guess there'll be no Social Security for me.`:-)

No, in this case I use pseudo-pension plan because whenever I want to analyze it like a pension plan defenders of Social Security remind that it isn't one. Whenever I want to analyze it like a social welfare benefit it is defended as a pension plan. 'Pseudo' meaning somewhat like but somewhat unlike.

Which as I understand the word pseudo is a very precise usage.

Bernard Yomtov wrote:

Read your own posts:
Social Security’s retirement portion pays a negative return for workers under thirty for example,

Clearly I am talking here about what Social Security will actually be able to pay.
younger workers aren’t being promised a $9 payout for a $10 “contribution” they’re being promised the same $12 payout as the current retirees.

And here I am talking about what Social Security has in effect “promised” to pay them, which is clearly different than what is will be able to pay them, hence the “unfunded liability.” As I said before there is nothing contradictory about recognizing that SS has a problem in that it (a) will not be able to pay out the benefits that it promised and if it does not do so then (b) it results in a negative return for younger workers making it an even worse program.

As I said before, if the members of the OC want to advance the argument that there is no problem with SS’s unfunded liability because they intend all along to simply and arbitrarily slash benefits when SS is no longer able to pay them, let them make the argument. I have no problem with reducing benefits per se but I would prefer to do it by (a) slowing the rate of growth while keeping up with inflation, (b) phasing in a modified retirement age (while making allowances for workers who cannot keep working), and (c) means-testing so that retirees who don’t need their benefits don’t receive them.



Read your own posts:
Social Security’s retirement portion pays a negative return for workers under thirty for example,

Clearly I am talking here about what Social Security will actually be able to pay.

younger workers aren’t being promised a $9 payout for a $10 “contribution” they’re being promised the same $12 payout as the current retirees.

And here I am talking about what Social Security has in effect “promised” to pay them,

No Thorley. That's not what you meant.

At 6:05 PM on Jan 26 you wrote:

When’s the last time you heard anyone talking about poor Gen13ers who are having 11.67% of their wages confiscated for a system that promises them a negative return for their retirement?

"Promises them a negative return",

Your words.

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